Mutambara ceased to be one of the three principals of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) after he was dethroned as party leader by Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube.
A meeting of the party’s national standing committee last week decided to recall Mutambara and re-assign him to the portfolio of Regional Integration Minister, while naming Ncube as Deputy Prime Minister in the coalition government.
The MDC move has sparked debate among legal experts, some of whom – including constitutional expert Lovemore Madhuku say only Mugabe can force Mutambara to move, if he chooses to stay.
Ncube who is a constitutional lawyer maintains his party has the right to recall and reassign its officers in government. Ncube points to a reshuffle by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of his cabinet team in June last year which saw him drop National Housing Minister Fidelis Mhashu and Energy Minister Elias
Speaking for the first time on the MDC leadership change, Mugabe said Ncube’s declaration that he was now Deputy Prime Minister “complicates issues”, while taking the view that only two options existed: either Mutambara resigns, or he fires him.
He told a luncheon hosted for him by the country’s ambassador to Ethiopia: “It creates legal matters, it complicates issues. They were able to remove him politically, but legally he was sworn in as a Member of Parliament. I swore him in as Deputy Prime Minister.
“It’s up to him if he wants to resign, but if he refuses, well, we are stuck, but the GPA will go ahead.”
Mugabe,s decision will certainly not go down well with MDC-N supporters in the party,s political powerbase of Matabeleland.People in the region might view Mugabe,s decision as a show of support for Mutambara and denying Ncube the right to the post of Deputy Prime Minister.
Announcing his decision, Mugabe appeared sympathetic to Mutambara who has openly described him as one of Africa,s greatest liberation war heroes.
Mugabe joked at the ceremony.”Ah, poor Mutambara, the people who invited you say you have overstayed,” Mugabe said to laughter from the 100 guests of
Ambassador Andrew Mtetwa.Mutambara is currently in Davos, Switzerland where he is attending the World Economic Forum together with Morgan Tsvangirai and senior government and business leaders.